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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Wife In The Photo

Narrators: Kate Handford, Todd Kramer Hachette UK - Bookouture

ISBN: 9781837906000

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: 09/07/2023

Format: e-book

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)


I pick up the photograph from their mantlepiece and carefully wipe away the dust. The beautiful wife. Supposedly happily married and enjoying a family vacation. I know her husband killed her. And I’m going to make him pay…

This is my first job as a housekeeper, but Evan Warner doesn’t need to know that. It’s the first of many lies I’ll tell him. He just lost his wife, Lola, and now he and his young daughter Jessica are adrift. But no amount of cleaning will rid this house of the secrets that have seeped into the cracks. I never forgave Lola for what she did to me. But I can’t let Evan get away with her murder.

In their impressive home, I busy myself preparing meals and peeking at carelessly discarded mail, looking for proof of his crimes. Evan hovers and I’m sure he is watching me… even as I bond with Jessica. But whenever he catches us alone together, his face darkens. I realize I have to get her out of this house before it’s too late for her, too.

Then I find Lola’s diary, tucked away in a closet out of sight. Her words, hastily scrawled on these pages, change everything I thought I knew about this family. As I hear footsteps on the stairs, I know I’m trapped. And I’m in more danger now than ever before…

The Wife in the Photo is a totally twisty psychological thriller guaranteed to keep you up all night. Fans of Freida McFadden, Gone Girl and The Couple Next Door will find it impossible to put down.

My Review


The queen of revenge plots, Emily Shiner (favorite author), returns following Her Husband's Secret and You Can't Hide with THE WIFE IN THE PHOTO —another clever diabolical cat-and-mouse thriller—but which character is the cat, and which character is the mouse?

Like a tennis match back and forth, your loyalties will change. Predator or prey? Trust no one! With a cast of unreliable narrators, be prepared for the unexpected and sharp turns and twists to the wicked conclusion.

A woman sets off on an obsessive path to justice, no matter what dark family secrets are revealed. She doesn't know she isn't the only one plotting her REVENGE!

No one (and I mean no one) is what they seem. The fates of all the players twist and turn until the shocking truth emerges: You can't always get what you want. But sometimes, you get what you deserve.

Meet the Warner's:

LOLA WARNER always wanted a home that looked like something from a storybook. A white picket fence. Lola wanted. Lola got. For a while, anyway. How many secrets can be hidden behind the flawless front door? Then, one day, out on the deck, a person is coming towards Lola. It is fast. She is on the edge. Her foot slips. She falls. She looks peaceful. However, she is DEAD. Who is the person at the top of the stairs?

What an opening!

Told from POVs.


Evan is a chief detective, the husband of Lola, and the father of teen Jessica. People have been coming by to babysit him since the funeral. He drinks more and needs help around the house and someone to help with Jessica. However, he needs to be careful. He must ensure he does not slip up and tell anyone the truth. He will hire a housekeeper. She cannot be young or good-looking as the neighbors may talk. His relationship with his daughter is strained. She stays in her room. They barely communicate.


Ariel Anders is a stalker. She has been watching, waiting, and keeping tabs on Evan and Jessica. Lola deserves more. She must keep Jessica safe from Evan. It is time to put her plan into action. All the pieces are in place, and she is ready. Lola would want her to protect Jessica.


Readers get snippets from Lola's diary leading up to her death. She thinks Evan is disconnected. He seems distant and silent. He comes home late and gets in the shower. (yep). She needs to get his phone when he is not looking to check it. But oh no, he has changed his password. (not good) Is Evan finding comfort somewhere else? If he is having an affair (you bet). She thinks they can get through it. She wants to fix things, but does Evan? Then she finds the letter. She will ask him about the letter when he is not drinking. When she is sure, she will be safe. Of course, he denied it. He must end the affair, or she will end the marriage.

Miriam is Evan's assistant. A grandmotherly type. He will ask her if she knows anyone interested in a housekeeper position. A cook. A cleaner. Run errands—someone to come into the house and improve Evan's life.

Miriam knows Aerial. Upon her recommendation, Aerial gets the job as a housekeeper. She is not pretty or striking, so she will be PERFECT, Evan thinks. Aerial would like to move in and live there instead of her car, but Evans says it is not a live-in position. (darn) She will take what she can get. She needs to snoop. She will improve Evan and Jessica's house and then RUIN him.

Aerial knows the truth will come out, and it could get ugly when it does. She needs to make sure Jessica trusts her.


Jessica is a wild card. She and her father do not seem to get along. Aerial wants her to open up to her. Jessica is not happy her dad hired a housekeeper.

Evan is happy with Aerial's work. She is a great cook and housecleaner. All seems to be working until he notices his bedroom door is cracked. He tells her his bedroom is OFF LIMITS. That makes her want to snoop even more. (right?) What is he hiding? She thinks he murdered his wife. She must dig through photos, papers, life insurance policies, anything—to find something to incriminate him.

She plans to get rid of Evan and help Jessica. However, nothing is as it appears. Was Evan having an affair? With whom? What is he hiding? Everyone has SECRETS! Maybe Lola had a diary that Aerial needed to find. She thinks this house is evil. She finds a gun, but he is a cop.

Jessica could be in grave danger from her father. She seems to be acting out, smoking weed, being manipulative, and being disrespectful—poor thing. Aerial is sure Jessica has more secrets, and she must learn them all. But Evan does not trust Aerial so she may lose her job and her opportunity to gather info.

However, there may be MORE than ONE person plotting REVENGE! After all, accidents tend to happen. Who knows how to play the game? Who is using whom? Who will outsmart the other?

DYNAMITE! Devilishly clever, Emily Shiner ratchets up the suspense and misdirection with this twisty, thrilling game of cat-and-mouse and house of smoke and mirrors that will have you guessing, second-guessing, and then gasping with surprise.

THE WIFE IN THE PHOTO is a magnificent, intricately plotted psychological thriller that will have you questioning everyone’s motives until the stunning ending—a must-read for thriller lovers.

The twist-filled plot fearlessly delves into the depths of revenge, obsession, and family secrets with a final knife twist—be prepared for a 360-degree head spin. For fans of authors Freida McFadden and Miranda Rijks. Be sure to check out Emily's backlist and stay tuned for The Hotel! (Blog tour Sept 8th)

Get this one on your list! I read the e-book and listened to the audiobook narrated by Kate Handford and Todd Kramer for a highly entertaining performance and listening experience.

Thanks to Bookouture, Hachette UK, and NetGalley for a gifted ARC and ALC in exchange for an honest review.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: Sept 7, 2023

Listen to an Audio Clip

Narrated By Kate Handford & Todd Kramer

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Buy Link: Amazon


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The Wife in the Photo Blog Tour

Host Sept 7th

About the Author

Emily Shiner grew up in Western North Carolina, and after going to college in Charlotte, returned to her beloved mountains to write novels that keep you up at night. She lives with her husband, daughter, two dogs, menagerie of chickens, and tens of thousands of bees. When not writing, she’s reading, hiking, or drinking copious amounts of tea while daydreaming about fall.

Connect with Emily

Check out my fun Elevator Q&A Ride Interview with Emily and HER HUSBAND'S SECRET.

We go behind the book & the author!


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